Driving to Thai
24.06.2011 - 27.06.2011 27 °C
Planned this road trip for several months already. I make sure all infos that I searched go smoothly. can't wait anymore, initially planning to start the drive at 6am but to excited, leave early in the morning 2am.
This humble Blog is for brothers and sisters who are planning to drive up North. I know many Singaporeans wanna do this type of trip but don't know where to start, how to start etc............. so I will write more about the procedure, tips, documents and all important notes for you guys, share my humble experience and one day you might drive this trip like me.
As this is just the first leg, I will skip all those unnecessarily post like accommodations, food we eat etc. I will post more on the route itself and what to take note.
Day 1: Drive from Singapore to Penang, stated at local time 2.45am. It's a total of approximately 745km. It's cool to drive at night But make sure you have enough sleep. I did not stop much because the battery in me is still full.
The first stop was at Ayer Keroh R&R as I only stop at the shoulder for 2 minutes, Pee service. And I proceed to 180km of NSH, met a road block . 6-8 policemen in duty and was told that I had over speed. I denied and after some "negotiation" , he warned me and let me off.
When hitting the EXIT 214 Shah Alam-Klang-Ipoh, turn left follow the way to Ipoh. as my GPS did not lead me to the turn, but I exit for good because I had a thorough research before the trip and it went well. When the first light break, I was about to reached Ipoh. Take note, Ipoh stretch is very foggy in the early morning, so do not speed and keep your eye open.
Did a full tank refilled at a station just before Tapah R&R, as upon reaching tapah R&R, feel hungry and this is the only "real" break , we stop there to have breakfast and coffee for about half an hour. After breakfast, proceed our journey, follow the Ipoh sign and after Ipoh, drive all the way following the Alor Setar and you will see Georgetown sign later. At this time, I begin to feel the zzzzzzz monster attacking me soon after the sumptuous breakfast at the R&R.
Drive all the way you will head to Penang bridge, this NSH is very clear cut, very uneventful but the road is fantastic!!! When we reached Penang Georgetown, we proceed to the hotel , have a shower and take a nap. 2.45am ( Tuas ) - 11am ( Penang Georgetown ) . A 8-10 hours is very doable, maintaining at a comfortable 110km/h speed.
- Have a good sleep
- Try to stop every 200km-300km to stretch yourself
- Do not drive too fast as NSH is quite dark at night. MAKE SURE you fill your Touch & Go card, very useful to pass to toll. I filled up 200RM for both legs.
- Blast fast music on the go, sing along and this will makes you alert. Do not play slow music, this will only makes you zzzzzzzzzzzz.
- As the NSH is very uneventful, short stop is only for toilet breaks, smoke breaks and fuel refill.
- Only RON 97 is available for Singapore vehicle.
- Stop only at those Big R&R.
- Chicken essence, Red Bull will be excellent for this long drive.
As the NSH drive is not rare for Singaporeans, I will stop here and proceed to the passing of Malaysia and Thailand part..............
We wake up 6.30am and have our breakfast, a quick toilet break and check out the hotel. Proceed to Bukit Kayu Hitam, the Malaysia - Thailand border. The distance to the border is approximately 150km, whereas 11/2 to 2 hours of driving time. Actually after all researched, the procedure is copied in my brain. But the actual situation is totally different. But don't worry, we all learn and we all have our first time.
Let me humbly guide you through this. First of all, get ready a LOG card of your Vehicle ( if the car isn't under your name, get an authorize letter from the owner) , your valid passport, and white cards.
First you will need to exit from Malaysia custom, very clear cut, hand over passport and stamp, it took just a few minutes out of Malaysia. The officer will ask you where you proceeding, and will take a look at your Log card. After the immigration, the left is a Duty free shop and it's big, I did not shop too much as it was a Saturday, I can see the jam is long, VERY IMPORTANT!!! Get the white card, buy the 3rd Party insurance, fill it here because the border itself is very Chaotic, no proper sign board and for first timer, you will get "LOST" here......but don't worry, it's very doable!!!
It will be quite rare if you travel alone, so i assumed that there are passengers with you. Let them alight first, Queue to have passport stamp. the driver turn left in to the Big car park, park your car and join the Queue. As there are 8-9 counters without any instruction, so better ask which lane to Queue before joining. There are lanes for motorcycles, for lorries, for cars etc. My wifey Queue the wrong lane, wasted half an hour in here and rejoined the correct lane after inquiries.We took almost 2 hours to stamped our passport, and from here, go to the next counter to get your Vehicle pass done. The car can be in Thailand for just 30 days.
Bear in mind, after signing the copy, the officer will return you the carbon copy. KEEP THIS and you need to return to the custom when you are back!!!!! VERY IMPORTANT!
After everything's done, go to the car park, get your vehicle, follow the path and get your Vehicle copy.........here we go, WELCOME TO THAILAND! So if you have a map of Thai, get your passengers hold it and a GPS is a very handy tools! Make sure you have your GPS Thailand maps update. I am using a Marbella, have a free I-Go Thailand map and was up to date!!!
So my destination is the Northern Thailand, I could not drive all the way there, it's another 2000km to go, so I need to stop in a province to have a night rest. For me, I do it this way. I will stop driving once the sky going dark........ where ever the nearest province I reached, I will drive in to the Town and search for a hotel. No need to pre booked hotel in Thailand because you will never know which province you will stop at. A nice hotel in a not so touristy area cost around 300 bht - 1200 bht. You can simply get a 4 star rating hotel for as low as 800bht. I emphasized on hotel I stay, must sleep well for the following day ride. You can go for a walk near any hotel, parked your car in the hotel, go get some food, photos or some massage! You can easily find all this in Thailand. I rest my first day in a province call Chum Phon.
As we are already in Thailand, we drive as what we plan. No matter how many km we travel, make it a MUST, we sky turns dark, STOP and rest. Never never drive in the dark in Thailand!! The road is not too bad but nothing compares to NHS, a few bad roads or potholes are unavoidable!
So today I drive all the way from Chum Phon to the North, Nakhon Sawan. It's around 800km in total. And I reached N.S at around 6pm, check in a boutique hotel and rest!!!
And the following day we make our trip to Chiang Mai. The HW in Thainad is very clear, very BIG ENGLISH signboard. If you have a GPS, you won't be worrying to much, it will bring you to the destinations set!!!!
If you guys have any questions, please feel free to email me, I will be very happy to answer......... firstname.lastname@example.org